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Facebook Bans QAnon Accounts Across All Platforms to Curb Misinformation

October 7, 2020, 05.09 PM

Facebook in August removed hundreds of groups tied to QAnon and imposed restrictions on nearly 2,000 more as part of a crackdown on stoking violence.

Critics have charged that inflammatory content from the conspiracy group was spreading on Facebook despite the platform's proclaimed effort to contain it.

Stoking flames

Facebook said it tightened its prohibition on QAnon after noticing that, despite taking down posts directly promoting violence, the group's supporter messages adapted to avoid restrictions.

For example, the group used the platform to claim deadly wildfires raging on the West Coast were started by certain groups, which diverted the attention of police and firefighters.

Read also: Facebook Removes Posts Linked to Oregon Wildfires to Stop Misinformation

"QAnon messaging changes very quickly and we see networks of supporters build an audience with one message and then quickly pivot to another," Facebook said.

The social network already bans content calling for violence and organizations that proclaim violent missions.

The increasingly visible and vocal followers of the group promote a bewildering blend of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Once on the fringes of the internet and focused on US politics, the movement has seen sharp growth on mainstream social media platforms this year.

Read also: Facebook to Ban Political Ads A Week Before November Election

The movement centered on the unsubstantiated belief that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshippers has extended that this year to allege, without proof, that the coronavirus is a conspiracy by that group to control people using vaccines and 5G.

Social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube have ramped up surveillance for QAnon content, as adherents attempt to bypass the new filters. 

(Writer: Glenn Chapman)


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